Album Review: Miley Cyrus: ‘Bangerz’

Miley Cyrus's album cover for 'Bangerz'
Miley Cyrus’s album cover for ‘Bangerz’

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this album. I even said it in my article about Miley  Cyrus and her quest to be ratchet (which you can read here) that despite her image and antics leaving a bad taste in my mouth, I was still looking forward to what she came up with musically. When you look at everyone who is involved in this project, Pharrell, Britney Spears, Dr Luke etal, the album itself is going to be a sure fire hit… right?

Now before I get into the nitty gritty of this album let it be known that I listened to this album with an open mind. I could have easily went into this album with the same venom I had towards her when I wrote my earlier post about her back in the summer. But this is her music and I made sure to not let her antics, no matter how much they irk me and scream desperation, pollute my experience of this album.

For an album titled ‘Bangerz’, most notably spelt with a Z and not an S to emphasise just how much of a non-stop banger this album is going to be, there aren’t many real bangers on this album. The album opens with ‘Adore You’ which is a solemn and pretty chilled track to open an album that promises ‘FUCKING BANGERZ!’. Thats not to say I didn’t enjoy the song, its a pleasant mid-tempo ballad which sees Miley profess her love to her man;

‘When you say you need me, know that I need you more’

This side of Miley Cyrus I can tolerate and I even enjoy because it doesn’t come off contrived or calculated in a bid to just get a reaction for the sake of it.

The now infamous ‘We Can’t Stop’ follows nicely as the next song on the album. We all know about this song and THAT performance of it so I won’t bore you with the intricate details of the song. Just know that the song itself fits pretty nicely within the body of the whole album. I’m getting flashbacks to the foam finger so please lets move swiftly on here!

The album has many features on it with the likes of Big Sean and French Montana both make appearances but the biggest feature of them all comes from Ms Britney Spears. The fact these two ladies had a song together was probably one of the industry’s worst kept secrets but the question remains; is the song any good?

‘SMS (Bangerz)’ reminds me so much of Salt and Peppa’s ‘Push It’ in terms of the production. Listen to them both here and tell me you don’t hear the similarities. As for the actual song, its the type of song that only fans of Miley Cyrus or Britney Spears would like. Thats not to say its a terrible record but my from point of view there isn’t nearly enough Britney in the song and as her features go, this is her weakest one. But I am a Britney fan after all so I enjoy the song for what it is and what it isn’t, which is a banger.

Don’t be fooled into thinking Miley Cyrus hasn’t heard what has been said about her in the press for the past year. The track ‘Do My Thang’ acts a declaration to her haters and critics that no matter what everyone else thinks, she’ll continue to just what she wants. I really wanted her to drop the ‘She’s Just being Miley’ line from her Disney era track ‘See You Again’ but that was never going to happen was it? Sigh! To put this song into perspective, this is her Britney ‘Piece Of Me’ moment with less witty lyrics and personal experience to draw from. Oh and Miley is RAPPING in the song. Yes! You read me right! It was bound to happen.

I’m a southern belle crazier than hell
Getting wild up in here
Getting live up in here
Burning up up in here
Turnt up up in here
We tear the roof up now we up out of here

Its not terrible but its not amazing either. No female rap careers are in jeopardy after her rapping thats for damn sure! On the plus side the beat takes elements from underground genre ‘Trap’ to produce a pretty dark and gritty beat which is one of the album’s highlights. Alongside that, the dub step infused ‘Drive’ also stands out as one of the strongest songs on the album and is the closest to a banger that we get on this album.

Talking about production highlights, I was really looking forward to Pharrell Williams and his contribution to this album. When it was first revealed Miley was working on new music a photo of the pair together in the studio got me so gassed. He is a genius, especially in the field of giving squeaky clean pop singers an urban edge. And with the success he has had himself with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke this past summer I was greatly disappointed that the best he could come up for this album was the misplaced and genre confused ‘4X4’ which features Nelly.

The song sounds really out of place on the album with its country hoedown sound. It just doesn’t fit at all. And don’t get me started on Nelly, his own music has been trash or so long I think he needs to revisit that street him and Kelly were standing on in the Dilemma video and GET IT TOGETHER!

But Pharrell saves himself from total damnation in the form of ‘Get It Right’. This is my favourite song on the album. Its breezy and sunny and the whistle in the background is sure to get stuck in your head for hours later. And again Miley isn’t trying to be some hood bitch here she is just singing about someone she likes. Nothing more, nothing less. And it works just fine.

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus

Like I said earlier, Miley excels when she isn’t trying to live up to this hood bitch, thuggish bravado and shows her sensitive side. Current single ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘Maybe You’re Right’ both showcase Miley’s ability to convey emotion through her songs. No getting ‘turnt up’ no false pretences about being ’bout that life’. Just her baring her soul. Its these moments on ‘Bangerz’ that save the album and I can only hope she realises that this is where her strengths lie and she works towards them for her next album.

So did Miley Cyrus’s first ‘adult’ album live up to everyone’s expectations? Well my personal expectations were not that high for this album and that was mainly due to her antics and image in the past year. I still stand by what I said in my previous post about her wanting to be ratchet and how stupid it makes her look. But the album is not terribly bad. It has its moments where I’d wish she would just stop but other times she really surprised me. E.g ‘Get It Right’.

This album reminds me of Nelly Furtado’s ‘Loose’ album from 2006 where she sought for a more urban sound and the result was a flawless album which still sounds good today. Can the same be said for Miley Cyrus’ ‘Bangerz’? Only time will tell but I do wonder if Miley’s desire to shed her child actor image by any means necessary was really worth worth it. When she started recording this album public opinion of her was indifferent to positive and she was engaged to Liam Hemsworth and her life looked pretty rosy. Fast forward to now where her engagement has been called off and she is now single and public opinion of her is at an all time low and her antics at the VMAs and response to Sinead O’ Connor’s open letter renders her public enemy number one.

I just wonder; was it worth it?

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